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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
Jun
15

Review & Giveaway: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

Review & Giveaway: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson The Taken Author: Vicki Pettersson   Release Date: June 12, 2012 Publisher: Harper Voyager Series:  The Celestial Blues #1 ISBN: #978-0062064649 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback, e-book, audio Book Source: Publisher About the book: Griffin Shaw used to be a private investigator, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he’s an angel, but that doesn’t make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he’s been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped. Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie. Joining forces, Kit and Grif’s search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn’t Grif’s biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife… What Nima’s talking about: The Taken is the first book by Vicki Pettersson I’ve read.  Without prior experience with this author, I had no expectations going in.  I appreciate fantasy because it makes me think; it’s like exercise for my brain to willfully suspend my disbelief and embrace the world created for me on its own terms.  I haven’t read a lot of urban fantasy, preferring to keep my vampires, changelings and werewolves in alternate universes, but I think it’s appropriate for religious characters like angels to cross over into contemporary scenarios. Pettersson introduces us first to Griffin “Grif” Shaw.  He’s dead.  Not something I expected in the first two pages.  Ok, I’m tentatively hooked. Grif is a low level angel tasked with the job of “taking” or escorting those who have died a violent death to the Everlast where their worldly worries, cares, and even bad memories are wiped away.  The first chapter describes the violent death of Nicole Rockwell; she is Grif’s Take.  It is during this Take that he does something against the rules and seals the fate of Nicole’s best friend, Kathryn “Kit” Craig.  As punishment for what he has done, Kit is Grif’s next Take.  We further discover in that first chapter...
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May
30

Review: Vengeance Moon by Lee Roland

Review: Vengeance Moon by Lee Roland Vengeance Moon Author: Lee Roland  Release Date: June 5, 2012 Publisher: Signet Earth Witches #2 ISBN: #978-0451236432 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Revenge is unleashed under the light of the moon… “On my seventeenth birthday, my mother’s last gift to me was a vision of death—and a curse…” Madeline Corso can’t rest until she hunts down the three unknown assailants who killed her father and witch mother. Two of them are now dead by her hand. But the third eludes her while she serves time with the Sisters of Justice—a mysterious order of female warriors with ties to her mother. The Sisters have tracked the last murderer to Duivel, Missouri, and the dark underworld of the Barrows. But Madeline’s release is contingent on her fulfillment of a mission for the Sisters. Madeline doesn’t question them, but once in the Barrows, she discovers that things aren’t what they seem. Can she rely on Michael, a handsome and enigmatic local businessman, to help her navigate a world of men and beasts? Or will she lose her heart before the mission is complete? What G & U are talking about: Vengeance Moon is the riveting second novel in the new Earth Witches series.  Lee Roland has crafted a dark and intriguing world, one that is as gripping in its action and suspense as it is in its passion.  You do not have to read the first book in the series, Viper Moon, but it would give you better background on the mythology (not to mention, it was really good, review HERE and a snippet HERE). In the previous novel, Viper Moon, the huntress, Cassandra, fulfills the purpose the Earth Mother has given her.  In Vengeance Moon, we have a new heroine and hero.  We were introduced to our hero, Michael, in the preceding novel.  He is an unlikely hero, but we hope there is more to him than meets the eye. Madeline, our heroine, is a very complicated character.  A spell cast by her dead mother caused her to witness the final moments of her life and to be consumed to seek vengeance against her mother’s killers.  Madeline’s personality has been tainted by the pursuit of her mother’s killers.  The overwhelming drive for vengeance overshadows everything in poor Madeline’s life.  She has been trained to become a perfect Sister of Justice – women who keep earth witches, who are blessed with great magic, from...
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May
23

Review: Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict

Review: Lies & Omens by Lyn Benedict Lies & Omens Author: Lyn Benedict  Release Date: April 24, 2012 Publisher: Ace Shadows Inquiries #4 ISBN: #978-1937007508 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Sylvie Lightner is a P.I. specializing in the unusual—in a world where magic is real, and Hell is just around the corner. After escaping secret government cells and destroying a Miami landmark, Sylvie’s trying to lay low—something that gets easier when a magical force starts taking out her enemies. But these magical attacks are a risk to bystanders, and Sylvie can’t let that slide.    When the war between the government and the magical world threatens the three people closest to her—her assistant, her sister, and her lover—Sylvie has no choice but to get involved with hidden powers bent on shaping the world to their liking. Now, with death and disaster on the horizon, even if Sylvie wins, things will never be the same…   What G & U are talking about: Lies & Omens is the fourth novel in Shadow Inquiries series.  Sylvia is still trying to understand the ramifications of her actions in the previous novel, Gods & Monsters.  She killed Lilith, created a new god out of a fury, and watched the death and resurrection of her boyfriend, Demalion.  You’d think she might catch a break after going through all of this, but no…it seems the fates are conspiring against her.  This does, however, lead to a new beginning – one we are eager to read more about! The interplay between Sylvia and the other characters continues to keep us interested.  Her snarkiness and brashness help to ground her.  It is very easy to identify with Sylvia despite the supernatural experiences she finds herself in.  Her decision-making process when she is stuck between a rock and a hard place is humanizing.  We especially loved seeing the interplay between her and Erinya, the fury-turned-god.  In Lies & Omens Sylvia sees the total cost of what her choice to make Erinya a god is doing, not just to Sylvia but also to the world.  She must try to fix what Erinya is doing to the world, heal Lupe (an out of control shape-shifter), learn to deal with Demalion and his new body, cure an amnesia epidemic, and end the war that has seems to have been declared on the ISI. Gikany and Una would highly recommend a reread of the previous novel, Gods & Monsters.  We found...
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May
2

Review: Sins of the Son

Review: Sins of the Son Sins of the Son Author: Linda Poitevin  Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: ACE The Grigori Legacy #2 ISBN: #978-1937007379 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: A detective with a secret… When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis sees a photo of Seth Benjamin on a police bulletin, she knows that Heaven’s plan to halt Armageddon has gone terribly wrong.  As the only mortal aware of Seth’s true nature, only she can save him. An exiled angel turned assassin… Aramael was a hunter of Fallen Angels until a traitor forced him into earthly exile.  Now, with no powers and only a faint memory of Alex, his mortal soulmate, he will stop at nothing to redeem himself – even if it means destroying Seth in the name of the Creator. A world with little chance of redemption… As Alex’s need to protect Seth sets her on a fiery course with the determined Aramael, the coming conflict between them may push the world over the edge – and into the very chaos they’re trying to prevent. What G & U are talking about: Sins of the Son is the second novel in this new Grigori Legacy series.  Ms. Poitevin delivers another riveting novel in this world of angels and humans.  As the world seems to charge recklessly towards Armageddon – Lucifer’s desire – there are those working relentlessly to prevent it…even if it means going behind the Creator’s back. The previous novel, Sins of the Angels, concentrated on setting up the mythology and the plight of humans and angels.  In this novel, we truly get into the politics of the Creator and of the Fallen Angels, led by Lucifer.  We love the continuing theme of free will that permeates this world in so many ways.  There is not just a political commentary you see but also one on the nature of humanity.  This series can be read on several different levels, which lends itself well to a book club.  It will spawn much discussion beyond religious beliefs and views. Alex is an engaging main character.  Although “mostly” human and therefore considered weak, she rises to the occasion.  She is not a religious woman, but she does believe in right and wrong.  She strives to help her fellow man to the best of her ability, even if it means a terrible sacrifice.  It is easy to be drawn to her and Ms. Poitevin does an excellent...
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Apr
24

Review: Demonically Tempted

Review: Demonically Tempted Demonically Tempted Author: Stacey Kennedy  Release Date: April 13, 2012 Publisher: Self-Published Frostbite Series #2 ISBN: #978-1476341873 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Tess Jennings, now a member of the Memphis Police Department, is on her first cold case. The suspected suicide of Lizbeth Knapp ten years ago isn’t a theory her family accepts—they believe she was murdered. But the case is only one of Tess’s worries. Ghosts are talking, and word of her abilities rapidly spreads. A dark ghost is terrifying the spirits of Memphis, and she must force the entity to cross over. Tess doesn’t have to do this alone. Not only does she have her ghost-lover, Kipp McGowen, but the department has brought in a medium. Dane Wolfe might answer all her questions, but he also brings a world of trouble. Will Tess finally have all she’s ever wanted, or will everything she’s vowed to protect be ripped away? What I’m talking about: **NOTE: I’m trying my new “hidden spoilers” button in this review. I have been told it pretty much always works – however if you are reading this via an RSS Feed Reader it will NOT work and the spoiler text will appear. HOWEVER, I have noted in all caps where the spoiler text begins and ends, so you can still read this review without the spoilers.  Thanks!** After getting to know all about Tess and her “ghost whispering” abilities in the first Frostbite book, Supernaturally Kissed, Ms. Kennedy jumps right into the thick of things in Demonically Tempted. Tess is now working for the Memphis Police Department with her ghostly, police officer boyfriend, Kipp, in tow. She has stepped into Kipp’s job, working along side of his best friend and partner, Zach. They are investigating cold cases, and the current case is a creepy apparent suicide. The team visits the old farmhouse where the dead girl’s sister still lives, yet Tess cannot find her ghost. What they do hear is a tale of darkness and strange behavior. Meanwhile, in present day, Tess’s abilities are now making the circles among ghosts – who knew that they would chat it up in the afterlife? They fear a dark presence and want Tess to make it go away. Why she didn’t see the connection between the cold case and this evil spirit is beyond me. But… she doesn’t and she agrees to help these ghosts. Enter Dane – apparent ghost expert...
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Apr
20

Review: Devil’s Punch

Review: Devil’s Punch Devil’s Punch Author: Ann Aguirre  Release Date: April 3, 2012 Publisher: Roc Corine Solomon #4 ISBN: #978-0451464491 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (315 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: The power swelled inside me, burning, hurting, but I let it center me. Pain means I’m still here, fighting. I envisioned it swelling in my hand in a seething rush, gathering, gathering, and then I sent it out on my resolve like a dark and winged thing riding the magickal wind. As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and learn its history. Her power is a gift, but one that’s thrown her life off track. The magical inheritance she received from her mother is dangerously powerful, and Corine has managed to mark herself as a black witch by dealing with demons to solve her problems. Back home, Corine is trying to rebuild her pawnshop and her life with her ex, Chance, despite the target on her back. But when the demons she provoked kidnap her best friend in retaliation, Corine puts everything on hold to save her. It’s undoubtedly a trap, but Corine would do anything to save those she loves, even if it means sacrificing herself… What G & U are talking about: Devil’s Punch is the fourth novel in the Corine Solomon novels.  Although it starts out a little slow, it burns to an unbelievable emotional wipeout ending. The story takes place a bit after the last novel, Shady Lady ended.  Corine and Chance are starting over in Mexico.  Corine is trying to rebuild her life and her business while learning to master the magic she inherited from her mother.  She has accepted the repercussions from the sacrifices and choices she made to save and protect those she loves.  Her respite lasts only a few weeks before Shannon, Corine’s “adopted” little sister and best friend, is in trouble and needs her help. Shannon has been kidnapped by a demon.  To save her, Corine agrees to follows Greydusk, a demon guide, to Xibalba, a city in the demon realm Sheol.  In this novel we discover both Corine’s and Chance’s true natures. Devil’s Punch was filled with personal realizations for Corine and Chance.  It was an emotionally powerful novel for those with a strong connection to Chance and Corine.  The ending is brutally realistic, but it is softened with a glimmer of hope.  The relationships between the four central characters were gripping.  The journey was about...
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Apr
12

Review: Shadow’s Fall

Review: Shadow’s Fall Shadow’s Fall Author: Dianne Sylvan  Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: Ace Novel of the Shadow World #3 ISBN: #978-1937007386 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (325 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      For three years, Miranda Grey-Solomon has kept her role as vampire Queen of the South separate from her Grammy-winning music career. But now, her dual lives are starting to collide, threatening everything Miranda and David, her Prime, have worked for.      To make matters worse, the entire Signet Council has descended upon Austin for its ten-year summit, bringing with it Prime James Hart of the Northeast, a sworn enemy come to take his revenge on those who defied him. As Hart’s machinations lead to outbreaks of violence across the South, Miranda and David receive an unexpected offer of help from David’s sire, an ancient and powerful vampire with knowledge that may be their salvation – or their doom. What G & U are talking about:      Shadow’s Fall is the third book in the Shadow World series. There is so much that happens in this book, well in the later half, that Gikany and Una are still stunned.      We start off three years after the previous book, Shadowflame, ended.  Miranda and David have been working on their relationship and Miranda’s career has started to take off.  In this book, her two lives – Queen of the Shadows and Rock Star start to pull her apart.  There are those who oppose Miranda’s very public career and are trying to stop her.  All of this is overshadowed by an old prophecy that could bring a new beginning or an end to the reign of the primes.      Let’s start off by saying we love this world.  We enjoy the politics and the main characters.  Miranda, David, Jonathon, Deven, Cora and Faith are a great group of people.  It’s wonderful to see them and watch them interact.  The cliffhanger ending has us both gnawing our fingernails off.  It is so abrupt and filled with such vague and vital consequences that we just HAVE to KNOW what happens next!      The novel starts out a bit slow. The book is separated into two parts: part one is the setup and part two is truly the meat of the book. We kept waiting for something to happen but we had to wait until we hit part two.  The novel seems to have...
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Mar
28

Review: Magic Without Mercy

Review: Magic Without Mercy Magic Without Mercy Author: Devon Monk  Release Date: April 3, 2012 Publisher: ROC Allie Beckstrom series #8 ISBN: #978-0451464484 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (358 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       We knew as soon as we stepped out on those streets, we were walking blind into a war. All of us were going to bear the pain for the magic we called upon. And I was going to have to bear the pain for carrying a weapon that made me face what I had become. A killer.        Allison Beckstrom’s talent for tracking spells has put her up against some of the darkest elements in the world of magic, but she’s never faced anything like this.       Magic itself has been poisoned, and Allie’s undead father may have left the only cure in the hands of a madman. Hunted by the Authority–the secret council that enforces magic’s laws–wanted by the police, and unable to use magic, she’s got to find the cure before the sickness spreads beyond any power to stop it.       But when a Death magic user seeks to destroy the only antidote, Allie and her fellow renegades must stand and fight to defend the innocent and save all magic… What Una is talking about:       I am hooked on the Allie Beckstrom series.  It is really great gritty urban fantasy.  Life isn’t pretty; sometimes decisions are hard and have long lasting consequences.  Ms. Monk does not disappoint in her latest installment — Magic Without Mercy is another nail-biting thriller.       Please note that if you haven’t read the previous novels, there will be spoilers in this review.  This is a series that really needs to be started from the beginning.  Each subsequent novel builds on the last and much will be lost if you try to jump in.       Allie is on the run from both the police — after being framed for embezzlement, and from the Authority — for killing Bartholomew.  However, she is not without friends or support.  Zayvion and Shame, along with others who realize the Authority has turned its back on its mission, are working with Allie to find out how magic has been poisoned and how to fix it – if that is even possible.  With the continuing support of the hounds, Allie works to try to find out what is going on,...
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Mar
22

Review: Black Howl

Review: Black Howl Black Howl Author: Christina Henry  Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012 Publisher: ACE Black Wings #3 (aka Madeline Black #3) ISBN: #978-1937007331 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (288 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Something is wrong with the souls of Chicago’s dead. Ghosts are walking the streets, and Agent of Death Madeline Black’s exasperating boss wants her to figure out why. And while work is bad enough, Maddy has a plethora of personal problems too. Now that Gabriel has been assigned as her thrall, their relationship has hit an impasse. At least her sleazy ex-fiance Nathaniel is out of the picture–or so she thinks… What I’m talking about:       Black Howl is the third book in what is coming to be one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. Madeline Black is an agent of Death – she helps usher the souls of recently departed people (and other supernatural beings) to “the Door.” In the previous two books, we’ve discovered that Madeline is also the daughter of Fallen Angel Azazel and the great (great…) granddaughter of Lucifer.       Book three opens with Maddy doing her duties, when she notices a peculiar-acting errant soul/ghost. She learns from her friend and boss, JB, that this has been happening fairly frequently.  In addition, she finds out that her friend and leader of the local werewolf pack, Wade, has been abducted, along with several cubs. Add this to her already crazy life and things get explosive (literally)! Maddy, along with side-kick gargoyle: Beezle, ex-body guard-turned-thrall: Gabriel, second-in-command of wolf pack, Jude, newly found “brother”: Samiel, and JB are out to figure out who is behind the sinister plots. What they discover, however, threatens to change the world for all human and supernatural kind.       This book was fabulous! First I want to mention the plot/s. WOW! Although it can be a bit tough to remember who’s who with all of the Fallens, Fae, wolves and other creatures, the twists and turns in this book make for one heck of a ride. I seriously could not put down the book. It is intense, action-packed, and had me on my toes – never knowing what would happen next. The storyline is well developed, and the twists never felt contrived. I loved it! Some of the developments just blew me away as pieces of the plot were unveiled at the perfect pace.       Next…...
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Mar
15

Review: Head Rush

Review: Head Rush Head Rush Author: Carolyn Crane  Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011 Publisher: Samhain The Disillusionists #3 ISBN: #978-1609286255 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:      JUSTINE JONES FACES HER ULTIMATE ENEMY: HERSELF In an attempt to put her unhappy past behind her, Justine Jones throws herself into nursing school and planning her wedding to the man of her dreams. But something is off. Random details aren’t adding up…and is it her imagination, or are her friends and fiancé keeping secrets from her? And what’s with this strange sense of unease, and her odd new headaches?      Justine tries to stay upbeat as Midcity cowers under martial law, sleepwalking cannibals, and a mysterious rash of paranormal copycat violence, but her search for answers leads her into the most dangerous mind game yet.      With the help of unlikely allies, including her paranoid dad and best frenemy Simon, Justine fights her ultimate foe…and unravels the most startling mystery of all. What I’m talking about:      Disclaimer: I don’t know how to write a review of Head Rush without giving spoilers from the first two books. SO… if you haven’t read the previous two books of the Distillusionists Trilogy, go back and start with Mind Games. NOW!      *WARNING: Spoilers from book 2*      Our heroine, Justine Jones, has been through a lot the past few months. She went from paranoid hypochondriac, to reluctant superhero, to starting over with the man of her dreams, but it’s not all good. Her band of crime-fighting friends known as the Disillusionists are falling apart after she witnessed their leader and good friend, Packard, shoot and kill Shelby’s boyfriend, Avery. However, everyone but Justine knows that she has been revised–her memories were altered by the man she is about to marry, and he is in fact the killer (this all happened at the end of the second book, Double Cross).       Head Rush opens with Justine settling into her life with Midcity Mayor, Otto Sanchez, her ideal man, and the two will be married soon. This is what (she thinks) she’s always wanted. Otto is handsome and strong, and most importantly he is stable and safe. Justine still cannot believe that Packard killed Shelby’s boyfriend, Avery. She hates Packard, but when he shows up secretly to talk with her, she cannot help the urge to protect him. She begins to notice things just aren’t adding...
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